ALBANY, NY — Amid the gloom and economic devastation the pandemic first brought to New York, state officials have come up with a crowd-pleasing method: temporary legalization of alcoholic beverages. carried away.
The move in March 2020 was seen as a lifeline for the virus-stricken restaurant industry and a social diversion for New Yorkers eager to get a little in return – even in the form of takeout margarine – about their pre-pandemic life.
So when state legislators tried to permanently legalize takeout cocktails last spring, the effort seemed like a bribe.
However, by the time lawmakers adjourned in June, the measure was dead, the clear victim of a powerful and widespread force in Albany: relatively discreet but powerful. Outcry from lobbyists for the liquor store industry in decline.
The proposal’s debacle last June is a quintessential story of the indelible impact that well-organized lobbying forces have on even the most incompetent policy proposals. in Albany.
It sparked a contentious conflict between liquor stores and the restaurant industry over who should be allowed to put alcohol in the hands of New Yorkers outside of their premises. In a series of activities, their lobbyists targeted the Capitol, trade groups started public relations campaigns, and even the union representing the state police joined in. into the debate.
But the liquor store industry’s time-tested lobbying efforts, which appeared to mobilize more quickly to quell the momentum of the law, have kept the restaurant industry afloat. Behind the scenes, the liquor store industry directed tens of thousands of dollars in political donations to state legislators, while individual store owners waged a campaign to pressure retailers. their elected officials.
Their primary concern, of course, is money: They make the point that allowing bars and restaurants to sell takeaway alcohol costs their business money. But they imbued that controversy with public health concerns, arguing that takeaway drinks can lead to underage drinking and intoxicated driving, as well as drinking where public – some lawmakers remain concerned.
The battle will come in the second round of the current legislative session, when Governor Kathy Hochul announced in her State of the Union address that she intends to legalize the sale of takeout drinks to bars and restaurants. restaurant, turn a permanent show ended in June.
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/31/world/liquor-stores-prepare-for-battle-as-new-york-revisits-to-go-drinks-from-the-early-pandemic-days.html Liquor stores prepare for battle as New York revisits takeout drinks from the early days of the pandemic.